Lion of the Blogosphere

Comment on Obama’s Supreme Court nominee

Washington Post article.

Instead of a super-liberal non-white non-male, Obama has decided to go with a white male who is said to be a “moderate.”

This means that Obama has decided to go with a nominee who has the best chance of being approved by the Senate. Because Obama is a lot smarter and more devious than right-wingers give him credit for (except for Rubio who correctly says that Obama knows exactly what he’s doing), Obama figured that this pick is the best win-win situation for liberals. It makes the Republicans seem especially obstinate if they reject him. And if they approve him, there is no reason to think he would be any more conservative than Justice Souter.

* * *

The above is a very brief first impression, and I reserve the right to change my mind after I learn more and have more time to think about it.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

March 16, 2016 at 11:29 am

Posted in Law, Politics

32 Responses

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  1. It gets better. There are 34 Senate seats up for election this fall, 24 of them Republicans. If Trump turns out to be a Goldwater-scale disaster, Clinton could have a filibuster proof majority in the Senate and be able to nominate a true radical. So Obama is forcing the Senate repubs to roll the dice with the SC…


    March 16, 2016 at 11:35 am

    • Even if Republicans still control the senate, Clinton would have at least four years to get a nominee through, and no guarantee a Republican will ever be president again.


      March 16, 2016 at 11:47 am

    • I was thinking it might be a gamble too.

      President Hillary + Senate with (D) Majority = Nightmare Nominees

      Thin-Skinned Masta-Beta

      March 16, 2016 at 3:27 pm

    • This was my exact thought. It comes down to whether you believe:

      p(filibuster-proof Democrat senate) is greater or less than p(Republican President). I assign p(Republican President) a value of about 5% and p(filibuster-proof Democrat senate) a value of maybe 20-30%. So I would argue for throwing in the towel and accepting Garland.

      If there are two swing votes on the Supreme Court (Kennedy and Garland), then the conservatives can expect to win some non-zero portion of cases. We know that Sotomayor et al. will never break with liberal consensus on any issue ever, but it’s plausible this guy will.

      If Scalia is replaced with a hard-left candidate, then the conservatives have permanently lost control of the Supreme Court and will never win a controversial case again (if you believe, as I do, that there will never be another conservative President).

      It’s true that Hillary has a good chance of nominating a replacement — either Kennedy or Thomas would swing the court, Thomas more so. Though the Republicans may be able to take back the Senate if they lose it in a massacre this year. Mid-terms will continue to favor Republican turnout for a while. So the Republicans may be able to extract another “consensus candidate” from Hillary. Under this scenario, the Court will slowly drift to the Left over the next 10+ years as Conservatives are replaced with “moderates”, instead of being completely and permanently conquered next year.


      March 16, 2016 at 3:29 pm

  2. It’s a potential clever move, but really, I can’t say I’m in a position to know whether the Republicans should swallow this or not. It depends on if the GOP is serious about fighting Trump over the nomination. If they are, and are willing to throw the election over it (which appears to be the case thus far), then there is zero change of a Republican winning, and there will be a lot of down ballot damage as well. In other words, President Clinton will have a Democratic Senate next year and can nominate any trans minority communist she wants and it will go through. So if the GOP intends to throw the election, go ahead and take this one, because unlike what gay kids are supposed to be told, it wont’ get better.

    Mike Street Station

    March 16, 2016 at 11:44 am

    • The “down ballot damage” is what will keep them from doing something too stupid. They may be angry about Trump but they won’t burn the house down over it. Even if some would, the other candidates and donors who have a lot riding on this would push back. If they can block Trump or replace him without a bloodbath they will. If they can’t then they won’t.


      March 16, 2016 at 12:36 pm

  3. The GOP shouldn’t pass any candidate that Obama put forward. All the whining from various Leftist Inc. types about how elections have consequences and he should never face any opposition from his, uh, opposition – do we need to talk about how stupid it is? It’s a given, right?

    Where the GOP was – catastrophically, unforgivably – foolish was to announce their tactic ahead of time. It looks very much like they’re either dangerously stupid, or colluding – or hey, possibly a little of both. And it’s frightening that I honestly can’t tell.


    March 16, 2016 at 11:46 am

    • I suspect the GOP has been both dangerously stupid and colluding on a lot of things. But they’re not on this. Announcing they wouldn’t allow a nominee in an election year wasn’t entirely stupid. First, it reassured their base who were freaking out over it. After the way Boehner and Ryan have behaved this gives the GOP a little redemption. And, second, it drew a line in the sand telling GOP politicians they’d better not cross it. If they hadn’t publicly said it then weak politicians would have given interviews and started moving the perception and narrative towards a nomination. This nipped it in the bud. Obama can nominate whoever the hell he wants. But it ain’t happening.


      March 16, 2016 at 12:47 pm

    • Announcing it ahead of time is good, because it means it is much, much harder for them to retreat from the position. (Which I for one don’t want them to do. Obama nominee bad, the end.)


      March 16, 2016 at 2:12 pm

    • Give the Democrats nothing. This Harlem Globetrotters/Washington Generals game of picking leftist Supreme Court candidates needs to stop. Confirm no one. Let the seat remain vacant.


      March 16, 2016 at 4:08 pm

      • Indeed. Time to stop playing nice and start playing hardball. Of course, Dems will try to get even by being tough on the next president’s nominees. Screw ’em. There’s no reason the court can’t get along with 8 justices. SCOTUS originally had 6. If they won’t confirm Trump’s nominees then he can make a recess appointment. Which means they’ll have to stay in DC continuously to stop him. They’ll either give in simply because they want to go home. Or they’ll just go home and let him make the recess appointment.

        At least that’s how I think it works. I’m no expert so I might be mistaken.


        March 16, 2016 at 5:22 pm

  4. Anything other than a hardcore scalia-like conservative as justice is a total and complete failure for the right, and a victory for the left.

    Obama knows exactly what he is doing.

    Republicans are stupid and some in areas that are up for election will say that they should compromise in order to not “look bad”. But it is much smarter to look bad in the short term and in the long term have an ultraconservative justice, versus looking like a pathetic cuck-servative (sorry but it fits) kow-towing to the democrats now and a moderate (aka a liberal) on the court.


    March 16, 2016 at 11:52 am

    • The GOP will have to get everyone on the same page. Don’t waffle or look ashamed or embarrassed. Express confidence and resolution in your position. Don’t allow the debate to become about whether Garland should get Senate hearings. Talk about what a LIBERAL MAJORITY COURT would mean. Second Amendment gutted, things like that. Have a whole list memorized about all the crap that would come in. Maybe even exaggerate a little, to force the opposition to argue with you about exactly how leftist a Garland court would be. Only 20% of Americans self-identify as liberal, so this shouldn’t be an uncomfortable case to make. We’re just defending the moderate status quo.

      If the GOP allows this whole debate to become about procedure and fairness to Garland, then they are going to look bad and suffer losses.


      March 16, 2016 at 12:42 pm

  5. I predict there will be left-wing outrage at this choice. Salon et al will complain about “another white man” instead of the first black female justice, as had been previously hinted.

    This could work in Obama’s favor, making Garland look like a painful effort at compromise only the most stupidly obstructionist Republican could oppose. A guy on CNN said Garland “looks very much like a Republican Supreme Court nominee.”

    The left could also force him out, though. Larry Summers was essentially forced out of Obama’s consideration for Fed chair for identity politics reasons.


    March 16, 2016 at 12:12 pm

  6. What exactly is a moderate liberal in a judicial sense? We know what a moderate conservative is: pro-choice, pro-gay, etc. I couldn’t tell you what a moderate liberal judge is expected to side with conservatives on. The Post provides no enlightenment.

    When confirmed for the appellate judgeship in 1997 Garland got more than 20 “no” votes, which seems like a high number for that era. By comparison, in 1993-94 Ginsberg and Breyer received only 12 “no” votes between them, and that was for the Supreme Court and nobody was under any illusion that they were moderates. Why did Garland get so much more resistance?


    March 16, 2016 at 12:14 pm

    • Garland wasn’t a replacement judge to the DC Circuit, he was an addition. There was some political debate at the time regarding whether the DC Circuit should be expanded, and Garland’s nomination became a symbol of that debate.


      March 16, 2016 at 12:37 pm

    • Actually, there was one guy who was comically paranoid about Breyer. It was this activist gay guy who ran the faculty message center at Boalt Hall in Berkeley. When Breyer was nominated he decided he was too tough in criminal cases, and handed out copies of some opinion in which Breyer’s panel upheld a stiff sentence. I don’t remember the precise issue. Activist queers are really stupid people.


      March 16, 2016 at 1:38 pm

    • I couldn’t tell you what a moderate liberal judge is expected to side with conservatives on.

      I’m going to guess: favorable to a lot of pro-business regulatory positions

      Greg Pandatshang

      March 16, 2016 at 2:03 pm

  7. The problem with leftism is that each new leftist wants to outdo the one that came before. Obama has position and doesn’t feel the need to push ever-leftward as much at the moment. Hell he is even for free speech.

    The problem is that he set the mark and no the next to come along want to out-do it. Will we miss Obama when he is gone?


    March 16, 2016 at 12:14 pm

    • Just look at the progression Carter, Clinton, Obama. Each one more evil, corrupt, destructive, and anti-American than the next. When each one left office, everyone thought “well thank God that’s over, we’ll never have a Democrat that awful again” — only to be proven tragically wrong. I don’t even want to think about how appalling the next Democrat president will be.


      March 16, 2016 at 2:15 pm

  8. Have to agree that Obama is being crafty here (or, really, spiteful, as is his usual mode). He’s floating in an underhand pitch and daring the Republicans to NOT swing at it. The media was going to punish them anyway for not voting on the Black Transgender Lesbian Immigrant we all expected. But now the media can say “oh those dastardly Republicans won’t even vote for the cisgendered white male Obama was so gracious to offer them!” (I’m assuming Garland is straight.)

    Republicans were going to lose the media battle regardless; this just makes it worse. And honestly, it might be smart to vote for this guy. I already saw one panicked SJW tweet saying Garland is “to the right” of Scalia on criminal justice issues, which makes him, basically, Hitler in a robe. It would be hilarious if the Progs were the ones to freak out over this nomination, and the Republicans just rubber stamped him in.

    Hey, it’s lose-lose for everyone! Classic Obama.


    March 16, 2016 at 1:06 pm

  9. Not fighting is an automatic loss. If they capitulate on this one, they will have to on the other when a justice is rumored to retire for health reasons. The Republicans at least have their principles they can fall back on. No new justices in the final year of a presidency.


    March 16, 2016 at 1:06 pm

    • “And hey those aren’t just our principles, they are also Joe Biden’s principles, so it is bipartisan!”


      March 16, 2016 at 3:33 pm

      • The Biden rule


        March 16, 2016 at 6:59 pm

  10. 4 Jews on the Supreme Court is too many.

    No thanks.

    Even the Hindu guy would have been better.


    March 16, 2016 at 1:46 pm

  11. I’m shocked the nominee isn’t transgendered.

    Lewis Medlock

    March 16, 2016 at 1:59 pm

    • Since you no longer have to know the law or be especially smart to hold a place on the supreme court — just have the right politics, Caitlyn Jenner would do quite nicely.


      March 16, 2016 at 9:31 pm

  12. I guess Merrick Garland, isn’t just any ol’ white guy. Evidently he’s Jewish too….

    Hardly would be a “historic” addition to the Court. But is there any relevance to the ethnicity if the GOP Senate blocks him?

    Thin-Skinned Masta-Beta

    March 16, 2016 at 3:05 pm

  13. The only thing I found on this guy was that he’s made rulings that are very hostile to 2A . So it looks like Bongo is making another stab at that. If the nominee gets confirmed 2A will be gutted. But that won’t happen. So I’m guessing.they’re going to try to link this to gun control and leverage it for a campaign issue.


    March 16, 2016 at 5:32 pm

  14. Republicans will confirm Garland in early summer.

    Or else they will face 6-8 competitive Senate elections in November that will be wall-to-wall abortion. That’s the only issue the press can understand that the Supreme Court is about and it’s an issue the Dems can win on in the swing states where all those close senate elections are. If the elections are about abortion and not fiscal policy and taxes and immigration and jobs and trade, the Democrats will win those elections. The Republicans will lose 6-8 senators and control of the Senate if that happens.

    Then Obama will push through whichever nominee he wants in the new Democratic Senate.

    The only way to prevent that is to confirm a justice before the elections heat up. The Republicans will wait until the filing deadlines to challenge them in a primary pass in early summer, then they will confirm Obama’s justice to get the issue of the table for November. The alternative is dying in the elections and then watching Obama win anyway once the new Senate is sworn in.

    The new president won’t be sworn in until 20 January. (And if Republicans keep that seat unfilled and make the election about abortion, that new president will certainly be Clinton.) The new Senate is sworn in 3 January so there’ plenty of time to confirm a justice between the two. The filibuster has already been abolished for all appointments except Supreme Court justices and as soon as a new Supreme appointment reaches the Senate floor, it will be abolished for that also, so there is no need for a filibuster-proof majority.


    March 16, 2016 at 6:20 pm

    • You’re an alarmist. If Scalia is replaced by a Republican appointee it simply preserves the status quo, which is legal abortion. But lots of shit happens if those 5-4 Kennedy majorities become 4-5 liberal rollovers. Run on that. Make the election about the gun rights people are going to lose. “Nothing changes about abortion no matter who picks Scalia’s successor, but if Hillary Clinton gets her choice then we lose the 2nd Amendment, we lose X,Y, Z.” Make the election about all other areas where the Democrats are weak. You’re acting like the Democrats get to define all this election’s issues, and it just isn’t so.


      March 16, 2016 at 7:00 pm

    • If you appoint an anti-2nd amendment guy to the court then there isn’t much reason for lots of people (ok, me) to continue to vote Republican. The Republican party would just shrink to the anti-abortion party.


      March 16, 2016 at 9:36 pm

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